Scholar Dong: A Fateful Encounter with the Fox Spirit: Subtitle

A tale of forbidden love and a sinister encounter with a fox spirit that leads to illness and tragedy.

There was a scholar surnamed Dong, with the courtesy name Xiasi, from the western part of Qingzhou. One winter day, as night fell, he spread out the blankets on his bed and added fuel to the charcoal fire. Just as he was about to light the lamp, a friend came to invite him to go drinking together. He locked the door and left. At his friend’s house, there was a doctor who was skilled in using the Taísù pulse method to determine the fortunes and lifespans of people. He examined everyone present one by one.

Finally, he looked at Wang Jiushi and Dong Xiasi and said, “I’ve examined many people, but I’ve never seen pulses as peculiar as yours. Although they appear to be signs of wealth and prosperity, there are also indications of lowly origins. And while they suggest a long life, there are also signs of a short life. I cannot dare to probe the reasons behind this. However, Mr. Dong’s condition is more severe.” Everyone was astonished and asked for further details.

The doctor replied, “My skills in the Dao have reached their limit, and I dare not make any conclusions. I hope that both gentlemen will be cautious.” Upon hearing this, the two men were initially frightened, but later they found the doctor’s words to be ambiguous, so they set it aside and no longer paid it much attention.

In the middle of the night, Dong Xiasi returned home and noticed that the study door was slightly ajar, which puzzled him. In his tipsy state, he thought it must have been due to his hasty departure, causing him to forget to lock it. Without bothering to light a lamp, he reached his hand into the warm blankets on the bed to check if they were still warm. As soon as he touched them, he felt someone lying there completely naked.

Dong Xiasi was greatly startled and quickly withdrew his hand. He hurriedly lit a lamp to see and discovered a beautiful young woman, as fair as a fairy. Dong Xiasi couldn’t contain his excitement and began to touch her lower body playfully, only to find a long, furry tail. He was overcome with fear and decided to run away. By this time, the beautiful woman had already awakened and grabbed Dong Xiasi’s arm, asking, “Where are you going?”

Dong Xiasi became even more terrified, trembling all over, and begged the woman for forgiveness. The beautiful woman smiled and asked, “What did you see that made you think I’m a fairy?” Dong Xiasi replied, “I’m not afraid of your head, but I’m afraid of your tail.” The beautiful woman laughed again and said, “You’re mistaken. Where is there a tail?” She then took Dong Xiasi’s hand and forced him to touch again, revealing her smooth, oil-like thigh skin and the absence of a tailbone. She continued to laugh and said, “How is it? You’re so drunk that you’re seeing things and making false accusations!”

Dong Xiasi had initially been captivated by her beauty and was now even more intrigued by her. He began to blame himself for his mistake. However, he still had doubts about her identity. The beautiful woman said, “Don’t you remember the little girl with blonde hair from your neighbor’s house to the east? It’s been ten years since we moved away. At that time, I was just a child too, and you were just a boy with your hair tied in a topknot.” Dong Xiasi suddenly realized and said, “You must be Azuo from the Zhou family, right?” The beautiful woman confirmed, “Yes.”

Dong Xiasi exclaimed, “Now that you mention it, it all comes back to me. I didn’t expect you to grow up so slim and beautiful after ten years! But why did you suddenly come here?” The beautiful woman explained, “I married a simple-minded man, and after four or five years, my in-laws passed away. Now I’m a widow, all alone with no one to rely on. I remembered the childhood acquaintance I had with you, so I came to seek refuge with you. When I entered your house, it was already dark, and it happened that the people who invited you to drink arrived, so I hid and waited for your return. Unexpectedly, I ended up waiting for a long time, and my feet grew ice-cold, and my body shivered with goosebumps. So, I used the warm blankets for a while, hoping you wouldn’t become suspicious.” Dong Xiasi was very pleased and undressed, joining the beautiful woman in bed, feeling quite content.

After more than a month had passed, Dong Xiasi gradually became emaciated, and his family found it strange. When they inquired about the reason, he claimed not to understand it himself. As time went on, his appearance grew even more haggard, causing fear to creep in. So, he decided to seek the help of the doctor who was skilled in pulse diagnosis once again. The doctor said, “This is an evil pulse. The omens of death that appeared before are coming true. Your illness is incurable.” Dong Xiasi burst into tears and refused to leave the clinic. The doctor had no choice but to give him acupuncture, apply moxibustion to his navel, and prescribe medication, instructing him, “If you encounter something, you must do your best to resist it.” Dong Xiasi sensed the danger he was in.

Upon returning home, the beautiful woman playfully teased and seduced him, but he angrily exclaimed, “Stop bothering me; I’m nearly dying!” He turned away without even looking at the beautiful woman. The beautiful woman felt embarrassed and annoyed, saying, “Do you still want to live?” At night, Dong Xiasi took the medicine and slept alone. As soon as he closed his eyes, he dreamed of intimate relations with the beautiful woman, waking up to find he had ejaculated. His fear intensified, prompting him to move to a separate room to sleep. His wife kept a lamp lit and watched over him, but the same situation occurred whenever he dreamed. When he opened his eyes, the beautiful woman had vanished without a trace.

A few days later, Dong Xiasi vomited more than a dou of blood and passed away.

In his study, Wang Jiusi saw a woman entering, and due to his attraction to her beauty, he engaged in a sexual relationship with her. He inquired about her origin, and she replied, “I am Dong Xiasi’s neighbor. He used to have an affair with me, but he was tragically ensnared by a fox spirit. These things are filled with evil, and scholars should be cautious and vigilant.” Wang Jiusi was even more impressed by her, and they continued their intimate relationship.

After a few days, Wang Jiusi’s spirit became muddled, and his body grew frail. One day, he suddenly dreamed of Dong Xiasi telling him, “The one you’re involved with is a fox spirit. She caused my demise and now seeks to harm my friends. I’ve reported this to the underworld to settle my grievances. Within seven days, you must light incense outside your house at night, don’t forget.” Wang Jiusi woke up feeling bewildered and told the woman, “I am seriously ill, and I fear I won’t live much longer. Some advise me not to engage in further relations.” The woman responded, “Longevity is predestined. Engaging in relations won’t change that. If one’s life is short, not having relations won’t prolong it either.” She then sat before him, teasing and laughing playfully. Wang Jiusi found himself unable to resist his desires and once again engaged in a sexual relationship with her. Despite later regrets, he could not break free from her allure.

In the evening, Wang Jiusi placed incense on the door. When the woman arrived, she removed and discarded the incense. That night, Wang Jiusi dreamed of Dong Xiasi again, reproaching him for disregarding his instructions. The following night, Wang Jiusi secretly instructed his household to wait until he had fallen asleep before discreetly lighting the incense. While the woman was in bed, she suddenly exclaimed, “Why is there incense burning again?” Wang Jiusi replied, “I don’t know.” The woman hurriedly got up to find the incense and broke it, extinguishing the flame. She reentered the room and asked, “Who taught you to do this?” Wang Jiusi said, “Perhaps it’s because my family is concerned about my illness and believes in the words of a witch doctor to ward off disasters and evil spirits.” The woman was sullen.

Wang Jiusi’s family secretly noticed that the incense had been extinguished and relit it. The woman suddenly sighed and said, “Your fortune is truly great. I mistakenly harmed Xiasi, and now I came here to you. It’s my fault. I will confront him in the underworld. If you don’t forget our past intimacy, please don’t harm my physical body.” Reluctantly, the woman came down from the bed and fell to the ground, dying. When the light shone on her, she was revealed to be a fox.

Wang Jiusi, fearing that it might come back to life, quickly summoned his family and skinned the fox, hanging its pelt.

Wang Jiusi was seriously ill, and he saw the fox spirit approaching him, saying, “I have already appealed to the Heavenly Court. The Heavenly Court believes that Dong Xiasi lusted after women and harbored impure intentions, so his death was a just punishment. They only reproached me for misleading people and took away the golden elixir I had cultivated. They allowed me to return to the living. Where is my physical body?” Wang Jiusi replied, “My family was unaware of the situation and has already skinned it.” The fox spirit said sorrowfully, “I have killed too many people. Even dying today is a delay. However, you were also too cruel!” The fox spirit walked away with resentment.

Wang Jiusi was on the brink of death due to his illness, and it took him half a year to recover.

《董生》

董生,字遐思,青州之西鄙人。冬月薄暮,展被于榻而炽炭焉。方将篝灯,适友人招饮,遂扃户去。至友人所,座有医人,善太素脉,遍诊诸客。末顾王生九思及董曰:“余阅人多矣,脉之奇无如两君者:贵脉而有贱兆,寿脉而有促征。此非鄙人所敢知也。然而董君实甚。”共惊问之。曰:“某至此亦穷于术,未敢臆决。愿两君自慎之。”二人初闻甚骇,既以为模棱语,置不为意。

半夜,董归,见斋门虚掩,大疑。醺中自忆,必去时忙促,故忘扃键。入室,未遑爇火,先以手入衾中,探其温否。才一探入,则腻有卧人。大愕,敛手。急火之,竟为姝丽,韶颜稚齿,神仙不殊。狂喜。戏探下体,则毛尾修然。大惧,欲遁。女已醒,出手捉生臂,问:“君何往?”董益惧,战栗哀求,愿仙人怜恕。女笑曰:“何所见而仙我?”董曰:“我不畏首而畏尾。”女又笑曰:“君误矣。尾于何有?”引董手,强使复探,则髀肉如脂,尻骨童童。笑曰:“何如?醉态矇瞳,不知所见伊何,遂诬人若此。”董固喜其丽,至此益惑,反自咎适然之错。然疑其所来无因。女曰:“君不忆东邻之黄发女乎?屈指移居者,已十年矣。尔时我未笄,君垂髫也。”董恍然曰:“卿周氏之阿琐耶?”女曰:“是矣。”董曰:“卿言之,我仿佛忆之。十年不见,遂苗条如此!然何遽能来?”女曰:“妾适痴郎四五年,翁姑相继逝,又不幸为文君。剩妾一身,茕无所依。忆孩时相识者惟君,故来相见就。入门已暮,邀饮者适至,遂潜隐以待君归。待之既久,足冰肌粟,故借被以自温耳,幸勿见疑。”董喜,解衣共寝,意殊自得。

月馀,渐羸瘦,家人怪问,辄言不自知。久之,面目益支离,乃惧,复造善脉者诊之。医曰:“此妖脉也。前日之死征验矣,疾不可为也。”董大哭,不去。医不得已,为之针手灸脐,而赠以药,嘱曰:“如有所遇,力绝之。”董亦自危,既归,女笑要之,怫然曰:“勿复相纠缠,我行且死!”走不顾。女大惭,亦怒曰:“汝尚欲生耶!”至夜,董服药独寝,甫交睫,梦与女交,醒已遗矣。益恐,移寝于内,妻子火守之,梦如故。窥女子已失所在。积数日,董呕血斗馀而死。

王九思在斋中,见一女子来,悦其美而私之。诘所自,曰:“妾,遐思之邻也。渠旧与妾善,不意为狐惑而死。此辈妖气可畏,读书人宜慎相防。”王益佩之,遂相欢待。居数日,迷罔病瘠。忽梦董曰:“与君好者,狐也。杀我矣,又欲杀我友。我已诉之冥府,泄此幽愤。七日之夜,当炷香室外,勿忘却。”醒而异之,谓女曰:“我病甚,恐将委沟壑,或劝勿室也。”女曰:“命当寿,室亦生。不寿,勿室亦死也。”坐与调笑。王心不能自持,又乱之。已而悔之,而不能绝。

及暮,插香户上。女来,拔弃之。夜又梦董来,让其违嘱。次夜,暗嘱家人,俟寝后潜炷之。女在榻上,忽惊曰:“又置香耶!”王言:“不知。”女急起得香,又折灭之。入曰:“谁教君为此者?”王曰:“或室人忧病,信巫家作厌禳耳。”女彷徨不乐。家人潜窥香灭,又炷之。女忽叹曰:“君福泽良厚。我误害遐思而奔子,诚我之过。我将与彼就质于冥曹。君如不忘夙好,勿坏我皮囊也。”逡巡下榻,仆地而死。烛之,狐也。犹恐其活,遽呼家人,剥其革而悬焉。

王病甚,见狐来曰:“我诉诸法曹,法曹谓董君见色而动,死当其罪。但咎我不当惑人,追金丹去,复令还生。皮囊何在?”曰:“家人不知,已脱之矣。”狐惨然曰:“余杀人多矣,今死已晚。然忍哉君乎!”恨恨而去。王病几危,半年乃瘥。

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